Ben Spies ready for factory chance, says Kevin Schwantz

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American legend Kevin Schwantz reckons Ben Spies will not succumb to the intense pressure of succeeding Valentino Rossi in Yamaha’s factory MotoGP squad.

And Schwantz believes Spies can emerge as a persistent threat to the domination enjoyed by Rossi, Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in 2011.

Spies’ move to the factory Yamaha squad was confirmed in Indianapolis last weekend before the American enjoyed a stellar weekend on home soil.

He claimed his career first pole position in qualifying and followed that milestone with his career best result in MotoGP with second.

Schwantz, who won the 1993 world 500cc crown for Suzuki, told MCN: “He’s told me that if he had the factory bike it doesn’t mean that he will win. It means he’d be a whole lot closer to the front and he can learn quicker.

"I think he’s real about it and got a good understanding that this isn’t a step that you find immediately. You don’t find three quarters of a second a lap to make that gap to Lorenzo with just the bike.

"More acceleration and more electronics might help but you’ve still got to figure out how to use it all and I think he’ll do it.”

Schwantz also reckons Spies won’t be overawed at the prospect of teaming up with Spaniard Lorenzo, who seems certain to win the 2010 crown after maintaining his 100 per cent podium record in Indianapolis last weekend.

Schwantz added: “Ben has got a lot of respect for Jorge. When he gets in that team and starts seeing the games that Jorge might play he might lose some respect for him.

"But Ben knows Jorge is riding good right now. I think Ben has all the respect in the world for him and he will try and elevate his game to where he can be competitive with him.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt